11-19 April 2012
A week and a bit in Makati for work.
Stayed at the Mandarin Oriental, which was a little run-down. But the hotel really made up for it with the excellent service--- imagine the natural sunny disposition of Filipinos plus top-class training and multiply it by pride in their work-- priceless!
Unfortunately, being based in the hotel also meant that I ate at the same restaurant about 10 times (more if I woke up in time for breakfast, but that's not usually my thing so...). Don't all hotel buffet joints taste samey after a while, the world over? A mix of pseudo-local dishes, a daily roast, western meals and a generic dessert counter. Reheat and repeat. Or perhaps am I just too pampered to appreciate the good things in life any more? (I'm writing this post in bed after a bad case of projectile vomiting brought on in part due to festive excesses, so excuse the moroseness!)
Halo Halo! A very traditional Filipino dessert--- very very sweet! It tastes like a Singapore dessert, Ice Kachang, but with ice-cream, coconut and other candied fruit. So pretty! But I could only have it the first day-- it was muy too sweet!
On the days i did manage to wander out of the hotel for my meals, didn't find anything particularly delicious-- although I did discover a love for Jollibee-- a local brand of cheap fast food which is neither nutritious or particularly tasty.
But I guess I was just nostalgic to relieve the memories of a previous trip to the 7107 islands when I walked in to pick up a late dinner of spaghetti and fried chicken. The spaghetti sauce was incredibly sweet, like candy even, but strangely it hit the spot.
I've realised that I do have a thing for eating junk food in hotel rooms...maybe its cos I was never allowed to eat in my bedroom as a child. Go figure.
Haven't (yet again) not done any research prior to this trip (too busy mugging for the work part of it, no doubt), I hadn't planned any side trip to Boracay or some such thing. In fact, was perfectly happy to laze by the pool, something I had never really found appealing (must be getting old)
Then I felt guilty about not making full use of the weekend so arranged for a half day tour around the old city. I really wanted to go for the Imelda Marcos tour-- the lady is such an intriguing 'personality' but it doesn't run on weekends WTH. The tour did cover a little bit of her reign--such a mark she had stamped on the city-- but it just wasn't the same as what the satiric walkabout would have done.
I have to say, the woman was really beautiful, no wonder Ferdinand snapped her up after just 11 days
Obligatory tour in Manila-- Street Procession, American Cemetery, Green Belt, Old Town, Jollibee in the very same colour scheme as Ronald McDonald, funnily enough.